This just in: the afro is making a comeback! Seriously, everywhere I turn someone is rocking the fro. And not just amongst us sistas and brothas, it is crossing over cultural lines and solidifying its place in pop culture. So, why is it that some of us sistas are afraid to join the curly revolution?
While I cannot speak for others, for me embracing my natural hair has been a challenge. Growing up I was conditioned to believe that coarser textured hair was not ‘in’, but ‘out’…way ‘out’. As a child, whenever I would see black females in the media, almost everyone was rocking straight hair. Thus, that became my standard of beauty. I remember getting my first basement relaxer when I was in junior high and let me confess to you all that I was feeling myself. Now straightened, my hair length extended past my shoulders and when there was a breeze, it took flight. My friends and family members often described it as ‘good hair’ (I’ll have more to say on this in an upcoming article). Boy oh boy, did I love my hair.
Today I no longer relax my hair and I am still in love with my hair. In its natural state, it has become my new obsession. Rest assure that I didn’t always embrace my natural hair. I decided not to relax my hair about three and a half years ago. I wish I could tell you that I was making some sort of political statement or predicting an upcoming fashion trend, but that was not the case. I was just tired. Tired of wasting my Saturdays in a poorly ventilated salon, tired of coming out of the salon with a haircut or style that I did not ask for, and just all around tired of giving my hard earned dollars to someone that did not care about the health of my hair.
So I told myself that I was going on strike from relaxers until I was able to find a good, no make that great hair stylist. And in time, I did. I found a hair stylist so great that with a little swipe from her flat iron, she could whip my kinks into a straight, lustrous mane that still danced in the wind. So I had the permed look without adding chemicals in the mix. I then came to the realization that I did not need to relax my hair in order to wear it straight. I felt like I had it made.
This past summer, I noticed that my hair was in quite a damaged state. It was limp, breaking and crying to be heard. I remembered Tim Gunn’s catchphrase “make it work” and it was then that I decided to make my head of kinky, coily, nappy, unruly, truly me, head of hair work.
So here’s my disclaimer: I am neither a licensed hair stylist nor am I a trichologist. Also, I am not anti-chemical relaxers. That said, I can only share with you what has and has not worked for me. I’m a bit of a product junkie and I’m on a mission to find the right products for my hair. My goal for my hair is to achieve a full head of healthy hair, rock my fro and let you all know that the afro is back. Ladies and gents lets make our fros work!